The culinary scene in Ottawa has come alive in recent years, with a thriving community of Ottawa chefs and restaurants making names for themselves both at home and abroad. Unique and familiar culinary offerings abound in Ottawa's eclectic neighborhoods and new restaurants are opening on a regular basis.
Dining in Ottawa
Ottawa's culinary scene is alive with a community of chefs gaining national and international accalim. The Savour Ottawa initiative encourges and promotes the use of locally grown and produced fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. Ottawa's relaxed dining districts include the historic ByWard Market with its courtyards and outdoor cafés, Somerset Street's great Asian dining, Preston Street's Italian food, and Elgin and Bank Streets, where you'll find a mix of culinary treats. The city's prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute, the first to be set up outside Paris, welcomes amateur chefs. You can also enjoy this classic French cuisine at the Institute's Signatures restaurant, recognised as one of Canada's best dining experiences.
World-Class Training (and eating)
Several of Ottawa's great chefs got their start at Ottawa's Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute - the North American headquarters for the world's foremost school for teaching classical French cuisine. While you could take the 9-month Grand diplôme course, you could also access your inner Julia Child by enjoying a three-hour demonstration course (or six-hour practical course where you can get your hands dirty!). Or if you just want to enjoy the fruits of others' labour, you can dine at Le Cordon Bleu Bistro @ Signatures. Set lunches are offered Tuesday through Friday and à la carte dinners are available Thursday through Saturday. The restaurant and school are located in a former lumber baron's beautiful mansion in the leafy Sandy Hill neighbourhood just east of downtown Ottawa.
Focus on Local
The city, its restaurants and its local food producers are all working together to bring locally-grown and prepared foods to tables across the region through an initiative called Savour Ottawa. Ottawa is geographically very large (over 1000 square miles) and over 80% of its land area is rural in nature. In fact, its farming revenues are higher than anywhere else in the country and close to 10,000 Ottawa jobs are associated with agriculture. There are 1,267 farms within the Ottawa city limits alone - more than the number within Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton combined.
Taste your way through the ByWard Market neighborhood by taking a culinary tour with C'est Bon Cooking. These walking tours are founded on the belief that one of the best ways to understand a people and its culture is to explore local food markets, experience local specialties and meet with local chefs and food artisans. Participants get to sample tasty dishes and treats - and meet the people who create them - along the way! ByWard Market tours are offered to the public at least once a week from May to October and private tours can be arranged year-round. Tours of other Ottawa areas are also offered a few times during the regular operating season.
Fulton's Pancake House and Sugarbush is located among 400 tranquil acres nestled in the heart of Lanark County and on the rural fringe of Ottawa. Visit in spring (late February-April) and see how sap is turned into maple syrup and discover dozens of great maple products in their on-site shop.